Jaws Unleashed

Format: PS2

4 005209 079648
Age Restrictions: 18+
22 September 2006

Amity Island is growing, making corporate connections with prestigious companies like Environplus to improve the island's economy. Unfortunately the increased population around the island and recent industrial activity has also attracted you - one of Earth's most fearsome creatures - a great white shark. When the Environplus CEO's son falls prey to your deadly attacks, the CEO hires renowned shark hunter Cruz Ruddock to track and kill you. Meanwhile, Marine Biologist Michael Brody tries to capture you for research. Can Ruddock and Brody stop you from causing havoc and killing more people before the 4th of July celebration...?

Jaws Unleashed is a rather ambitious game, but sadly one that doesn't even come close to the mark. The developers came up with a nice idea - you are the great white shark instead of having to hunt it.

The graphic look pretty impressive, but as soon as you start the tutorial it becomes clear that this is going to be a pig to play. First off the camera controls make it impossible to view your surroundings comfortably. While you can partially customise these, you'll still not be able to get the hang of them that quickly. The problem with this is that once you're into the game proper, you'll need to be able to work out where you are in relation to other things like ships, swimmers and divers, but that's not as easy as it should have been. You do have the option of switching to first-person mode, but that is pretty poor too.

The next big problem is eating in order to keep your energy up. It seems to be the case that no matter what you chew on your energy levels randomly go up and down. Sometimes eating a diver will increase your energy, other times it won't. And then there is the problem of your energy draining. A few harpoons in your back and that's it - game over.

After the tutorial (where I didn't really felt I knew what I was doing anyway) you are captured and held in a holding tank inside a large aquarium. Here you have to work out how to escape. The answer is, rather bizarrely, that you have to grab one of the scientists and drag his body over to a card reader so that his identity badge can be scanned and then the door keeping you trapped will open. Next up you have to smash your way out of the aquarium and... well, I'm afraid that's where I lost the will to live.

After several attempts to escape I kept being instantly killed by divers and I suddenly thought of a thousand and one other things I could be doing - like all that paper shredding I needed to get around to doing.

If this had been part of a mini-game in some other, much better, release it may have amused me for about five minutes. However, to expect someone to play £30 is criminal.

About as much fun as being eaten by a great white shark.

Nick Smithson

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